Mastery Flight Training, Inc. 

Beech Weekly Accident Update archives


April 2009 Reports


Official information from FAA and NTSB sources (unless otherwise noted).  Editorial comments (contained in parentheses), year-to-date summary and closing comments are those of the author.  All information is preliminary and subject to change.  Comments on preliminary topics are meant solely to enhance flying safety.  Please use these reports to help you more accurately evaluate the potential risks when you make your own decisions about how and when to fly.  Please accept my sincere personal condolences if anyone you know was in a mishap. I welcome your comments, suggestions and criticisms.  Fly safe, and have fun!


©2009 Mastery Flight Training, Inc.  All Rights Reserved



4/2/2009 Report



3/29 2000Z (1500 local):  On landing at Lancaster, Texas, a Be35’s nose gear collapsed and its propeller struck the runway.  Two aboard the “pleasure” flight avoided injury despite “substantial” aircraft damage.  Weather was “clear and 10” with surface winds at nine gusting to 15 knots.  N3407B (D-3645) is a 1953 D35 registered since 2001 to an individual in Dallas, Texas.


(“Gear collapse on landing”; “Substantial damage”; “Wind”—another in the correlation between strong or gusty winds and Landing Gear-Related Mishaps)


3/30 0108Z (2108 local 3/29/09):  Landing at Lincoln Park, New Jersey, a Be33 “landed long and ran off the end of the [2942-foot] runway.”  The solo pilot reports no injury; damage is “unknown” and weather conditions “not reported”.  N4455V (CD-1006) is a 1965 C33 registered since 2007 to a Dover, Delaware corporation.


(“Landed long—runway overrun”; “Night”—Airspeed and glidepath control are critical to touching down with enough runway remaining to come to a stop, with sufficiently low inertia to stop in the expected ground-roll distance.  Dusk and night conditions can create visual cues that can contribute to a pilot’s misjudgment of final approach glidepath; often low-lying fog develops shortly after dusk that can add to the disorienting effect.    Remember that, unless you’re in very mountainous locales with rising terrain immediately off the departure end of the runway, a go-around should always be an option all the way down to and even including after your wheels are on the ground.  Unless the runway is extremely long, if you don’t touch down in the first third of the runway at a speed at or just above a stall, your best option is usually to go around and try it again.  This is especially important when runway length leaves little margin for error.)


3/31/1200Z (0800 local):  A Be36 struck a deer on the runway while landing at Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina.  The solo pilot was not hurt and damage is “minor”.  Weather was “clear and 10” with a five-knot wind.  N9231Q (E-285) is a 1972 A36 registered since 2004 to a Chesapeake, Virginia-based corporation.


(“Collision with animal on landing”—Deer and other wildlife are often attracted to the relative warmth of pavement at dusk and again when the first of the sun’s rays hit at dawn.  At particularly animal-prone airports many pilots make a precautionary pass down the runway in a balked landing maneuver to check for animals, and perhaps scare away any that are in the way.  Note this long-used safety technique has inadvertently come under fire of late, as FAA has reasserted it prohibition against “low passes” over a runway as a form of low-altitude flight not required for takeoff and landing, in other words illegal “buzzing”.  I submit that a low pass for the purpose of detecting and clearing away obstacles on the landing surface, if done safely and for that specific purpose, is in fact “required for landing” in periods of dawn or dusk.)


3/31 1930Z (1530 local):  A Be36 landed gear up at a grass airstrip at Batavia, New York.  The solo pilot was unhurt despite “substantial” aircraft damage.  Weather was 25,000 broken, visibility 10 miles with a 13-knot surface wind.  N4587S (E-753) is a 1975 A36 registered since 1984 to an individual in Batavia.


(“Gear up landing”)





Events previously appearing in the Weekly Accident Update:


**3/16 D35 landing gear mishap at Taos, NM.  Change “Gear collapse on landing” to “Gear up landing” and add “Substantial damage”.  Excess speed on final approach should clue even a student pilot into checking the gear position.  Instructors, you are the ones who need to teach these things, which may not be obvious to persons new to flying.**


**3/21 A36 landing in a residential area in Laredo, TX.  Change “Crash/unknown” to “Fuel starvation” and add “Serious injuries”.  From the NTSB preliminary report: 


According to the CFI, while in the traffic pattern at about 800 feet above ground level, the engine "hesitated" and the CFI directed the student pilot to change the fuel selector from the left tank to the right tank. The engine quit and the CFI attempted to restart the engine. The engine did not restart and the CFI performed a forced landing to an apartment parking lot.


Switching to a tank containing fuel did not permit the engine to restart before the airplane hit the ground.  Plan your flight to have enough fuel remaining in a single, main tank to select that at Top of Descent (just before beginning descent from cruise) through approach, landing, and a go-around/missed approach climb if needed.  Do not plan to switch tanks in the pattern (except in an emergency); time and again we see that such attempts do not provide enough time or altitude to get the engine restarted.**  



4/9/2009 Report



4/3 1726Z (1326 local):  A Be35 landed gear up at West Palm Beach, Florida.  The solo pilot was unhurt and damage was “minor”.  Weather: 3400 scattered, 4400 overcast, visibility 10 with surface winds at 14 knots.  N8909A (D-2683) is a 1951 C35 registered since 2005 to an individual in Hartly, Delaware.


(“Gear up landing”)


4/4 2020Z (1620 local):  “On takeoff” from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, a Be36 “lost power and settled onto the runway gear up.”  Four aboard the Bonanza were unhurt and damage is as yet “unknown”.  Weather was “few clouds” at 2500 feet, 5000 broken, 25,000 broken, visibility 10 miles and surface winds at 13 gusting to 23.  N60402 (E-1498) is a 1979 A36 registered since 1999 to an individual in Florence, South Carolina.


(“Engine failure on takeoff”; “Wind”—The pilot, whom I checked out in this Bonanza a decade ago, phoned me shortly after the event so others can learn from his experience.  Here’s his story:


The pilot was taking off from the former military airfield’s 11,500-foot runway.  The aircraft was full of fuel.  A strong and gusty wind was 90° to the runway.  On takeoff the pilot confirmed he had full manifold pressure and rpm, but after a long ground roll the airplane “didn’t seem to be climbing.”  The pilot raised the Bonanza’s landing gear to try to get it to climb, but at “300 to 400 feet” above ground power dropped further and he elected to abort the takeoff.  He was still over the long runway but in the excitement did not re-extend the landing gear, and the airplane landed gear up.  The damage he described meets the FAA definition of “minor”.


The ambient temperature was 7°C, or about eight degrees below standard at the near-sea-level airport.  The gusty wind may have intermittently hampered performance and airplane weight would have certainly affected takeoff and climb, but I told the pilot I suspect he had a valve or cylinder problem. Note that manifold pressure does not indicate power, only the potential for power—see my 2005 article “Manifold Pressure: What It Tells Us, What It Doesn’t”. 


RPM may indicate full under some circumstances of cylinder failure. As I told the caller, I had similar indications in a Cessna 120 some years ago, when rpm looked good but it just wouldn’t develop enough power to pick the tailwheel up off the ground.  On investigation I had a cracked cylinder.  Most telling would be a record of CHTs and EGTs from an all-cylinder engine monitor; perhaps the pilot has downloadable engine data and will tell us more after an engine investigation.


This brings up another point.  I always teach the manufacturer’s recommended techniques, and variations when good information or operational experience says otherwise.  In the A36 I teach the POH procedure of retracting the landing gear once a positive rate of climb is established.  In practice I’m a couple hundred feet in the air before the gear comes up.  It may be argued in this case that there never was a solid positive rate of climb, but that’s beside the broader issue: should gear come up as soon as climb begins, or should the pilot delay gear retraction until no usable runway remains?  On an 11,500-foot runway this may be absurdly long.  So what do you think?  Do you routinely retract the gear upon establishing a positive rate of climb, or do you wait until there’s no usable runway ahead of you?  If taking off from an 11,000-foot runway, assuming the engine is performing properly, when would you retract the landing gear?  Let us know your thoughts at  Thanks, reader, for letting us learn from you.)



4/5 1815Z (1115 local):  While landing at Sonoma, CA, a Be36 “veered off the runway and into a ditch.”  The solo pilot was unhurt despite “substantial” aircraft damage.  Weather was “VFR”.  N100VH (E-663) is a 1975 A36 registered since 1993 to an individual in Sonoma.


(“Loss of directional control on landing”; “Substantial damage”)




Events previously appearing in the Weekly Accident Update:


**3/15 Sierra engine failure in cruise flight at Bellefontaine, OH. “According to the pilot, the airplane was in cruise flight when he noticed abnormal engine noises and a partial loss of engine oil pressure. He immediately diverted to the nearest airport, Bellefontaine Regional Airport (KEDJ), and entered downwind for runway 7 (4,999 feet by 100 feet, asphalt). During the turn to base leg, the engine oil pressure dropped to zero psi and the engine seized. He established best glide speed and continued the turn onto final approach. The pilot reported that the airplane was not in a position to reach the runway threshold, or to clear the airport perimeter fence. He lowered the landing gear and selected full flaps prior to landing in the grass area outside of the airport perimeter fence. During landing rollout the airplane impacted the airport perimeter fence, damaging both wings and the nose landing gear.”  Change “Engine failure in flight” to “Engine failure: loss of oil pressure”.  It sounds like the pilot kept his wits about him and the airplane under control all the way to the ground.** 



4/16/2009 Report



3/9 2030Z (1930 local):  A Be36 was “destroyed” and its pilot killed when “the pilot departed on a visual flight from Aragarcas, Brazil, destined for Fazenda Felicidade, Brazil. The pilot encountered weather while enroute, and the airplane impacted terrain some time thereafter” near Querencia.  Precise weather conditions were not reported but assumed from the report to be IMC.  PT-LKH is an A36, serial number and ownership information unavailable.


(“Controlled flight into terrain—attempted visual flight into IMC” [as best as we can tell]; “IMC”; “Fatal”; “Aircraft destroyed”) 


4/8 2200Z (1500 local):  A Be56 landed gear up at Roseburg, Oregon.  The solo pilot was unhurt, and damage to the turbo Baron was “minor”.  Weather: “not reported”.  N333HP (TG-89) is a 1970 A56TC registered since 1999 to an individual in Eugene, Oregon.


(“Gear up landing”)


4/13 2240Z (1540 local):  A be36 landed gear up during a “training” flight at Bakersfield, California.  The solo pilot reports no injury and the extent of aircraft damage is as yet “unknown”.  Weather was “clear and 10” with a four-knot surface wind.  N818LA (E-2868) is a 1994 A36 registered since new to an airline training organization headquartered in Torrance, CA.


(“Gear up landing”)




Events previously appearing in the Weekly Accident Update:

** 3/4 stolen A36 impact with terrain at Athens, TX.  “After jumpstarting the airplane, the non-certificated pilot elected to takeoff without the airplane owner's knowledge or permission. A short time later the airplane was located in a wooded area approximately 2 miles northeast of the airport. The airplane's right wing had been separated from the fuselage during the impact. The pilot was later apprehended by law enforcement officers while attempting to retrieve his automobile from the airport. Inspectors from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) later interviewed the pilot at the county jail. When asked what had caused the accident, the pilot responded that he didn't know and that another person had crashed the airplane. Although the pilot reported to FAA inspectors that he had accumulated 200-300 total flight hours, it could not be verified.”  Add “substantial” damage.**

** 3/9 fatal A36 weather encounter in Brazil, cited above.**


** 3/11 Baron 58 instructional mishap at Durango, CO.  This was originally reported as a blown tire on takeoff.  In the March 19, 2009 Weekly Accident Update I wrote that, given the airplane’s registration with an airline pilot training program, “although nothing specifically says it’s the case, it may be the blown tire resulted from side-loads or overly aggressive braking during a simulated engine failure on what was most likely a multiengine training flight.”  The NTSB preliminary report gives us more detail:


Shortly after takeoff in the twin-engine airplane, the flight instructor announced a simulated engine failure and expected the student pilot to land on the remaining runway. The student pilot responded by reducing both engines to idle power, but did not pitch the airplane's nose down enough to maintain sufficient airspeed. The flight instructor responded by lowering the airplane's nose to the proper attitude before releasing the controls. Moments later the flight instructor realized that the student pilot was not arresting the rate of descent and was unable to react in time to prevent a hard landing. The airplane's fuselage and right wing sustained structural damage during the accident.


This is another reminder that flight instructors must actively anticipate what might go wrong, and be vigilant to step in promptly if needed at any time.  Change “Blown tire on takeoff” to “Hard landing—simulated engine failure on takeoff (twin-engine airplane)” and add “substantial” damage. 


4/23/2009 Report



 4/16 0249Z (1949 local 4/15/09):  The pilot of a Be36 reported and engine problem before landing on a road, on Lopez Island, Washington.  Four aboard the Bonanza have “minor” injuries.  Aircraft damage is “substantial”, and weather conditions were “not reported”.  N464TJ (E-3052) is a 1996 A36 registered since 2003 to a co-ownership in Lynnwood, Washington.


(“Engine failure in flight”; “Substantial damage”—local news reports show the Bonanza on a road with significant tail and wing damage, but with the cabin intact.  Comparing this picture to similar photos from other mishaps suggests that shoulder harnesses were used, and may have gone a lone way to result in a survivable outcome, especially for those in the front seats.  The news report continues:


The aircraft had recently been in for its annual inspection and tune up, and [the pilot] received the plane from the mechanic early that week. [He] was told by the mechanic to keep the throttle at about 75 percent of normal, which [the pilot] did throughout the flight…. Shortly after [the pilot] began descending, the aircraft's engine shut off and the cockpit filled with smoke. 


Although no reports say so specifically, specific engine operating instructions from a mechanic to an airplane owner suggest a recently installed engine or one or more replacement cylinders.  An engine failure followed by smoke in the cockpit further suggests catastrophic oil loss, possibly from installation error or the sort of engine “infant mortality” frequently cited by engine guru Mike Busch [].  Be especially vigilant for abnormal engine indications in the first 20 to 50 hours of new-engine [or new-cylinder] operation, with a plan in mind for dealing with catastrophic engine failure in all phases of flight.  It appears the pilot of this airplane in fact did keep it under control to a highly desirable conclusion.) 


4/13 0000Z (2000 local 4/12/09):  A Be58’s wingtip struck the ground during landing at Valdosta, Georgia.  The solo pilot was unhurt; airplane damage and weather conditions are “unknown”.  N27ML (TH-569) is a 1975 Baron 58 registered since 2005 to a Wilmington, Delaware corporation.


(“Wingtip contact with the runway”)


4/22 0050Z (1750 local 4/21/2009):  A pilot receiving instruction and the CFI received “minor” injuries when the Be35 in which they flew crashed during an attempted go-around at Groveland, California.  The Bonanza has “substantial” damage.  Weather was “few clouds” at 8000 feet, visibility 10 miles with calm winds.  N8124R (D-9656) is a 1974 V35B, “registration pending” to a new owner in Pleasanton, CA.


(“Go-around/unknown”; “Substantial damage”; “Dual instruction”; “Recent registration”—a local news report says one aboard the airplane has spinal injuries, and suggests the Bonanza’s engine failed during a series of touch-and-goes.)


4/30/2009 Report



4/23 1942Z (1442 local):  A Be58 landed with the left main gear up, at Houston, Texas.  Three aboard the Baron report no injury and damage is “minor”.  Weather was clear with a 13-knot surface wind.  N833TX (TJ-153) is a 1978 58P recently (January 2009) registered to a co-ownership in Corpus Christi, TX.


(“Failure of landing gear to extend due to mechanical failure”; “Recent registration”—chances are most likely a failed rod end or a bent or broken pushrod, items that history shows should be inspected and replaced according the factory recommendations in the Baron’s Pilot’s Operating Handbook.)


4/25 1708Z (1008 local): A Be33’s nose wheel “separated on the runway” at Goodyear, Arizona.  Three aboard the Bonanza were unhurt; damage was “minor”.  Weather was “few clouds” at 25,000 ft, visibility 30 miles with a 12-knot surface wind.  N8173C (CE-1541) is a 1990 F33A registered since new to an airline training program in Goodyear.


(“Wheel failure/separation”)


4/29 0102Z (1802 local 4/28/2009):  A Be58, “registration unknown”, suffered a gear collapse on landing at Henderson, Nevada.  Four aboard the Baron escaped injury and damage is “minor”.  Weather was “clear and 10” with a 20-knot surface wind. 


(“Gear collapse on landing”; “Wind”)





Events previously appearing in the Weekly Accident Update:


** There are no newly posted piston Beechcraft NTSB reports this week**




SUMMARY: Reported Hawker Beechcraft piston mishaps, year-to-date 2009:


Total reported:  49 reports 


Operation in VMC: 34 reports    

Operation in IMC:    2 reports  

Weather “unknown” or “not reported”:  13 reports

Operation at night:  8 reports 

Surface wind > 15 knots:  8 reports           


Fatal accidents: 3 reports  

“Serious” injury accidents (not involving fatalities): 1 report 


“Substantial” damage: 20 reports  

Aircraft “destroyed”:   2 reports  


Recent registration (within previous 12 months):  6 reports  


(Note: FAA preliminary reports no longer identify the purpose of the flight involved in mishap.  Consequently the number and percentage of Beech mishaps that occur during dual instruction will become less and less accurate over time.  Since the late 1990s the percentage of Beech mishaps that take place during dual flight instruction has remained very consistently about 10%). 



By Aircraft Type:


Be36 Bonanza   15 reports 

Be35 Bonanza   11 reports

Be24 Sierra  4 reports

Be33 Debonair/Bonanza 5 reports

Be58 Baron  5 reports   

Be55 Baron  3 reports  

Be19 Sport  2 reports

Be23 Musketeer/Sundowner  1 report

Be50 Twin Bonanza  1 report

Be56 Turbo Baron   1 report

Be60 Duke   1 report 



PRELIMINARY DETERMINATION OF CAUSE (all subject to update per NTSB findings):




Gear up landing

13 reports (two Be24s; Be33; four Be35s; four Be36s; Be50; Be56)


Gear collapse (landing)

9 reports (Be24; two Be33s; two Be35s; Be36; Be55; two Be58s)


Failure of landing gear to extend due to mechanical failure

2 reports (Be58; Be60)


Gear collapse—retract rod failure after improper installation

1 report (Be36)


Wheel failure/separation

1 report (Be33)


...for more on Landing Gear-Related Mishaps see these data and this commentary. 



ENGINE FAILURE   (8 reports) 


Engine failure in flight

3 reports (Be19; Be35; Be36)


Engine failure on takeoff

2 reports (Be35; Be36)


Piston/cylinder failure in flight

1 report (Be35)


Fuel starvation

1 report (Be36)


Loss of oil pressure

1 report (Be24)


...for more on fuel management-related mishaps see  



IMPACT ON LANDING  (8 reports) 


Loss of directional control on landing

2 reports (Be19; Be36)


Hard landing—airframe ice

1 report (Be58)


Landed short

1 report (Be35)


Landed long—runway overrun

1 report (Be33)


Collision with animal on landing

1 report (Be36)


Hard landing—simulated engine failure on takeoff (twin-engine airplane)

1 report (Be58)


Wingtip contact with the runway

1 report (Be58)





Airframe ice in cruise—unable to maintain altitude

1 report (Be36)


Attempted visual flight into IMC

1 report (Be36)



CAUSE UNKNOWN  (2 reports)  



1 report (Be19)



1 report (Be35)



STALL/SPIN  (1 report)


Stall/loss of control during go-around

1 report Be55)




Wheel/strut failure on landing—fixed gear airplane

1 report (Be23)





Loss of directional control during takeoff—strong, gusty wind

1 report (Be55)





Loss of control: Attempted visual departure in IMC

1 report (Be36)




Recognize an N-number?  Want to check on friends or family that may have been involved in a cited mishap?  Click here to find the registered owner.   


Please accept my sincere personal condolences if you or anyone you know was involved in a mishap.  I welcome your comments, suggestions and criticisms.  Fly safe, and have fun!






Thomas P. Turner, M.S. Aviation Safety, Master CFI

2008 FAA Central Region CFI of the Year

Mastery Flight Training, Inc.

There's much more aviation safety information at





Return to  archives page.